Charlie Hebdo Blames All Muslims for Terrorism

Gore Vidal once remarked that the four sweetest words in the English language are “I told you so.” To give Charlie Hebdo credit where credit is due. They’re not pretending any more. They genuinely hate Muslims. People in the United States who persist in defending them with the idea that “well Americans just don’t understand French humor” can now be safely dismissed as fools.

“How Did We End Up Here?” is not only a bigoted editorial calling for religious repression and collective punishment. It’s just bad writing. Published in English – fans of Sam Harris and Bill Maher are the targeted audience — it contains so many logical fallacies it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s not only the terrorists who are responsible for the attack on the Brussels Airport, the writer argues, but ordinary Muslims who are just going on about their everyday lives. The Muslim woman who wears a veil, the Muslim baker who refuses to serve pork, the Muslim university professor who insists on defending his religion, are all part of a demographic time bomb threatening the French way of life. Secular French citizens who treat Muslims with respect are not only just as guilty. They’re like dogs.

Take the local baker, who has just bought the nearby bakery and replaced the old, recently- retired guy, he makes good croissants. He’s likeable and always has a ready smile for all his customers. He’s completely integrated into the neighborhood already. Neither his long beard nor the little prayer-bruise on his forehead (indicative of his great piety) bother his clientele. They are too busy lapping up his lunchtime sandwiches. Those he sells are fabulous, though from now on there’s no more ham nor bacon. Which is no big deal because there are plenty of other options on offer – tuna, chicken and all the trimmings. So, it would be silly to grumble or kick up a fuss in that much-loved boulangerie. We’ll get used to it easily enough. As Tariq Ramadan helpfully instructs us, we’ll adapt. And thus the baker’s role is done.

How did we end up here?

You can explain away the  language – “lapping up his lunchtime sandwiches” – by pointing out that the writer, or whoever translated it into English from the French, is pretty obviously not a native English speaker, but you cannot explain away the ideas behind the clumsy prose. Charlie Hebdo’s problem with the Muslim baker is not that he refuses to assimilate, but that he has assimilated, that he’s become such a vital part of his local community that his secular customers are willing to work around the idea that he won’t serve ham or bacon. For Charlie Hebdo, French citizens have a patriotic duty to force their Muslim neighbors to serve pork. Multiculturalism and religious freedom weaken the resolve of the west to fight the war on terror. As Fox News reminds us every year shortly after Thanksgiving, your right to say “Merry Christmas” is threatened by “liberals” – read Jews – in Hollywood and New York who insist on saying “Happy Holidays” instead.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of political correctness. The Clinton campaign’s use of feminism and anti-racism to brainwash people into voting against their own economic interests is a good example of how politically toxic the idea of walking on cultural eggshells can be. A video that came out of San Francisco State University – a big strapping black wench shoves around a scrawny little cracker for “appropriating her culture” – almost makes me want to grow dreadlocks, and fly out to California just to prove a point. I don’t even have a problem with offending Muslims, but criticizing political correctness is not what Charlie Hebdo is doing. They are not defending “free speech.” Rather, they are fabricating a correlation between political correctness and terrorism. They are making a false and dangerous connection between the innocent French Muslims just trying to preserve their customs in an overwhelmingly Catholic and secular country and the criminals who bombed the airport in Brussels.

Having very recently read Mein Kampf, I recognize “How Did We End Up Here?” for what it is, fascism.

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11 comments

  1. The first sin of that piece is the awful prose, the second is its contents. The third is passing off racism and islamophobia as free speech and protecting the secular French state. For the ass-wad that wrote this, you lap up soup not sandwiches – if you want ham or bacon, go to a French owned shop. Lastly, it’s just cheap and all around lazy to make this sort of blanket argument of collective blame. If they want to make this type of argument – at least don’t be lazy about it and come up with more original ideas. It’s all dreck, but it would at least stink less.

    1. Jews and Vegans don’t serve ham either.

      I get it. I love pork. I love alcohol. I certainly wouldn’t want to live in Saudi Arabia (that ally of the American government). But Ahmed who runs the falafel store isn’t stopping me from going to the liquor store down the block.

      Besides, I thought neoliberal capitalism was all about choice. If Ahmed doesn’t serve croissants with bacon, then Jacques can open up another croissant shop across the street. I mean, for the love of Allah,there are three industrial sized drug stores and six banks on every commercial block in New Jersey. Surely the French can have two bakeries.

      Immigration and assimilation has always been a two way street. Those Muslim immigrants bring food to the French the French didn’t already have. They adopt some French customs along the way. This idea that you have to bully your immigrant neighbors into being purely French is a lot like the Klan trying to bully Italians into giving up alcohol back in the 1920s.

      1. That’s exactly right – and that’s where this disgusting ‘article’ falls apart. The woman in hijab – you don’t like people in hijab, very simple, don’t look at her, don’t associate with anyone who wears a hijab and don’t date a woman who wears a hijab. Neoliberal capitalism is about choice…and there’s tons of it in the West, especially where it regards to food choices. LOTS. More than we’ll ever need. Same goes for alcohol – especially in France. And no, I don’t want to live in Saudi Arabia either, aside from the lack of food choices and drink, I am also a woman which is another whole host of problems. Outside of Islamic countries, Muslims are usually a very small minority, their ‘customs’ will not overtake the existing local customs. If they tried to make the French give up their wine, there’d be another French Revolution which will be far bloodier than the first.

        1. France actually has laws banning the hijab. It’s not as if Islam threatens the secular state. It’s that some people on the French right (or in the case of Charlie Hebdo the racist pseudo left) don’t have any confidence in their own culture to assimilate immigrants, as if a major capitalist power with 70 million people is going to overwhelmed by some poor Syrians and North Africans.

          Do you know what really helps immigrants assimilate? The possibility of upward mobility. What really brought Eastern and Southern Europeans into the American mainstream wasn’t coercion by the Anglo Saxon majority. It was the New Deal, and the economic boom after the Second World War. It’s irrelevant to ask whether or not people are personally secular. It’s whether or not they have an economic stake in the larger secular society.

          1. One would think they’d have figured that out by now. I am aware of the laws banning hijab, which I think is the sort of thing that plays right into the hands of extremist. With respect to France, to shut out or disenfranchise through institutionalized racism 10% of your population is a ill-advised thing to do. It not smart economically, socially and has proven to be dangerous.

            1. To repeat though, Charlie Hebdo is necessarily representative of the French people as a whole. They got a lot of sympathy after the terrorist attack on their offices. But they’re starting to abuse the privilege.

  2. ninja network · · Reply

    Unfortunately Charlie Hebdo will change the peaceful country to war streets 💐💐💐💐

    1. I think the French are too smart for that. The people in the north flirted with the idea of electing Marine Le Pen for a few weeks, then wisely rejected her. Charlie Hebdo got a lot of sympathy after the terrorist attack on their offices. Then, just like George W. Bush after 9/11, they threw it all away.

      1. ninja network · · Reply

        I think Marie Le Pen after visiting a mosque and reading more about qur’an and Islam
        Know that terrorists are so far to be messengers of Islam

  3. Thinking that today’s guerrilla resistance warfare is a religious issue is like thinking The Inquisition and The Crusades were religious events. Religion motivates and sustains individuals, and it binds combatant communities together, but warfare – large and small, resistance and imperial – is and always has been motivated by mortal, hedonistic interests.

    Al Qaeda know exactly what they are doing – and so does our national security posture. Al Qaeda will openly say that they are trying to make Westerners question why their countries spend so much treasure and life occupying their homelands and that they are trying to exhaust the West’s will to fight and purses with asymmetric costs to maintain occupation.

    If we look historically – to the series of revolutions that sought to oust Western occupation from the 50s to the 70s – the enemies were not religious but secular. The Arab League and Baa’thists (as Assad is today) are our enemies for seeking to unite the Middle East against the West – not under Islam but under secular nationalism. The common enemy for the West has always been those seeking to unite the Arabs against them.

    Jews, Christians, Socialists, Capitalists, Barbarians, Pagans, Scotlanders, Irish, Native Americans, Futurists – even Buddhists have employed terrorism. The common trait of terrorism isn’t religious motivation. It’s strategic value in asymmetric combat. The way the West has divided the Middle East, installed dictatorships, forward deployed military capabilities, stolen resources and dominated the region has led to existential war – societies that either must submit to domination or fight to the death – where there is strategic value in asymmetric combat.

    New insight into human psychology and propaganda capabilities were supposed to bolster a new era in the Middle East. We had thought that if we caused the collapse of a series of lynchpin states in the Middle East we would be able to control the ensuing restructure of society to into new client states that would play closer to Western strategic and economic interests. What we’ve seen instead that as the West has taken to providing the secular alternative to Baa’thist governments the reaction has been to reject not just the West, but also its secular alternative. Sunnis that had thought the fall of Saddam might mean their deliverance understood that the divide hadn’t been Sunni and Shia, but instead occupation and occupation.

    Charlie Hebdo misses the context, provides little insight and results in implications so askew to understanding motivations and consequences of cultural exasperation it obviates itself. Hebdo doesn’t call for an end to the US led coalition, which has been the major funding source behind religious extremism as a political war force in Syria. Hebdo can’t even condemn consistently.

    Like much of Western apologism, Hebdo is bound to be forever mired in an inconsistent mired rat’s nest of confused racism. We haven’t lost much though. They were never a particularly high quality outlet.

    1. I don’t think CH was even addressing terrorism. They were attacking their fellow Frenchmen for not persecuting Muslims, and even the very idea of religious liberty. In fact, CH is the mirror image of the Muslim extremists they claim to be against. They want polarization, not an end to terrorism. They want the French to united against all Muslims as if all Muslims were extremists exactly the way ISIS wants Muslims to be united against all Europeans as if all Europeans were bigots. In the end, I’m probably more afraid of CH and the French right than I am of ISIS. The French military has nukes.

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